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Sharing Our Faith: Evangelization and Outreach in US Orthodox Parishes

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by gurneyhalleck1, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. gurneyhalleck1

    gurneyhalleck1 auto-correct iPhone survivor

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    This past week we parishioners received a survey request from the hierarchs of the Assembly of Bishops in America. The survey was our opinions about how to evangelize and live out our faith in our parishes. Father asked us to all take the survey.

    I must say I found it very off-putting and uncomfortable. There were questions like:

    how do you feel about women deacons?
    how do you feel about female altar servers?
    how important is sacred tradition to you or do you favor a modern approach to Orthodoxy?
    how important is fasting to you?

    The questions kept coming, and they got downright disturbing to me. It was the talk of the parish last weekend. The mere suggestion of secular humanist modern liberalism penetrating us struck fear in the minds of many. I was not thrilled that they'd ask such questions. Did anyone else experience this survey? What did you think if you did?
     
  2. All4Christ

    All4Christ +The Handmaid of God Laura+ Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Interesting...No, I didn’t get any requests for surveys or hear about them. I looked online to see if there was a link for the survey but didn’t see it.

    One question - what would a modern approach to Orthodoxy be if we don’t hold to Sacred Tradition? Part of the core of Orthodoxy is sacred tradition...(?)
     
  3. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    yeah, it can be off-putting. but the whole point of these Assembly things is to get a feel for the local parish level. it's a good thing that some of the questions got such a reaction.
     
  4. gurneyhalleck1

    gurneyhalleck1 auto-correct iPhone survivor

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    My reaction was intestinal discomfort.

     
  5. All4Christ

    All4Christ +The Handmaid of God Laura+ Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    I found it.

    Sharing Our Faith: Evangelization and Outreach in US Orthodox Parishes Survey

    I truly hope that the questions about being open to changing moral beliefs, following a modern form of Orthodoxy, etc are just a gauge as to the beliefs of local parishes...and I hope the question about changing liturgical practices and worship pattern is more along the lines of vesperal liturgies rather than major changes to the Liturgy. Some of it would be really distressing if it actually happened...
     
  6. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Evangelical Catholic Supporter

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    In the interests of civility, I am going to post a response in St. Justin Martyr's Corner. Nothing too sharp as a critique, just an observation.
     
  7. All4Christ

    All4Christ +The Handmaid of God Laura+ Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    A parish can be quite vibrant, welcoming, growing and reaching out to others, yet still keep firm to the faith and the teachings of the Church.
     
  8. gurneyhalleck1

    gurneyhalleck1 auto-correct iPhone survivor

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    Sharing Our Faith: Evangelization and Outreach in US Orthodox Parishes Survey

     
  9. gurneyhalleck1

    gurneyhalleck1 auto-correct iPhone survivor

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  10. All4Christ

    All4Christ +The Handmaid of God Laura+ Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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  11. Jesus4Madrid

    Jesus4Madrid Orthodox Christian

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    I suspect the results might be even more disturbing than the questions in some moribund parishes.

    So if there is enough support for it, will we thus become Episcopalians?

    I agree with you on challenging the premise of the survey. I can’t imagine the results being useful for anything other than how we catechise our people.
     
  12. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    I hope a few of those questions were just to gauge the thoughts of the people.

    Then again, they asked in other places (may depend on how you answer) in a way that assumes some parishes already have the engaging and lively (or whatever words they used) worship and relevant sermons.

    It could be taken different ways, I suppose. Having brushed by the whole emerging church movement, words like that set off my warning bells though.
     
  13. Ioustinos

    Ioustinos Veteran

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    Coming from a Protestant background myself I can understand the hesitation in using that description. However, I understood the worship questions from that survey to be asking if one feels part of the service. I attend and have attended parishes where the laity sang every part of the service and joined in the prayers. I have also attended parishes where the laity are merely spectators watching the priest and the chanters/choir sing. That is what I took away from the question, I could be wrong.
     
  14. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    haha, but that's they way you should react when you read of encroaching secularism. which was what Fr Schmemann said is one of the most prevalent heresies of the day.
     
  15. graphite412

    graphite412 Eastern Orthodox Neophyte

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    I would wonder if this survey is happening in light of the information that was given out by the Pew Research Center. It really gives an alarming account of the spiritual state of Orthodoxy in America. Of the "Orthodox" surveyed in the USA there was 54% approval of same-sex marriage. It could be that the Assembly is finding out how bad things really are:

    See the link below for the pew study
    4. Orthodox take socially conservative views on gender issues, homosexuality

    Also it could be that they are looking into what jurisdictions have this non-Christian humanistic ethos.
     
  16. All4Christ

    All4Christ +The Handmaid of God Laura+ Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    That survey did concern me as well. It made me wonder how there can be so vast a difference between different parishes and regions. Perhaps our region is influenced by the high level of conservative beliefs in general (though that trend across Christian denominations and churches in our area is lowering), but I can’t imagine the high percentage of more liberal beliefs and teachings listed in those surveys.
     
  17. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    That makes sense. I've seen both kinds of parishes too. Just the particular words they chose are kind of trigger words.

    In some cases, the way of answering the survey depends on how you take the meaning. I think I voted those choices at the bottom, but if it meant that people participate in the Liturgy, I'd say that's very important.

    I do think it's worth understanding who and how many said what. I don't know if they plan to publish the results.

    We weren't told about it. I only heard about it here in TAW.
     
  18. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    I remember being a bit shocked and scandalized that someone from the parish used the "rainbow" background on FB when it was popular several years ago. That person and their family actually split themselves from the Church a couple of years ago and don't attend anymore (over a different matter - I don't think the rainbow thing ever came out).

    But if anyone has any affinity for novel or secular, etc. ideas in our parish, you never hear about it.

    That said, there are non-Orthodox same sex couples who appreciate us and even come to volunteer in some work days, and they are made to feel welcome as persons and treated with love, which I believe is proper. And we have members with that inclination who live celibate lives, and that is perfectly accepted as well (though it may grieve their family members).
     
  19. FireDragon76

    FireDragon76 Evangelical Catholic Supporter

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    Having conservative or traditionalist views about sexuality doesn't mean you believe in requiring other people to behave as you do.

    In the Lutheran churches, the LCMS are more conservative about sexuality than our church, the ELCA, and yet quite significant numbers of LCMS have favorable attitudes towards gay rights, far more than you'ld imagine based on official church statements. In fact, as my pastor points out, politically and even pastorally LCMS and ELCA are not that different.

    I'd imagine something similar is true with Orthodox churches. There are plenty of Orthodox Christians that are exactly like Tom Hanks, for instance, who goes to the Orthodox Church but his politics isn't that different than any other American who leans politically left of center.

    Orthodoxy did not change my political attitudes at all and that's one of the reasons I ran into tension at my former church, where conservative attitudes politically dominated.
     
  20. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    but, as Orthodox, we should not support that which is antithetical to the Faith. just because certain Orthodox in good standing accept things that go against our understanding of human sexuality, which is theological, is not a green light.

    this does not mean that all Orthodox must vote a particular way, but someone who voted for someone like Mrs Clinton should do so for reasons other than gay "marriage" or abortion. because no political conservative gets Orthodoxy right either.
     
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